One of the best things in life is traveling, and being a day-tripper means you don’t need to worry about packing and sleeping on an uncomfortable bed.
If you’re visiting or living on a major European destination, I highly recommend you to take a day off to visit one of these under-the-radar and easy-to-get-to smaller cities, you’ll fall in love for sure.
Living in Paris gives you the opportunity to visit Île-de-France, which includes the now far-flung burbs of Paris, in addition with several lovely towns. That’s why, this time we decided to visit Provins… And also because bubu loves medieval towns.
How to get to Provins:
This town is situated roughly 90 kilometers south-east of Paris. This delightful village with his cobblestone streets is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s really easy to reach Provins from Paris! Go to Gare de l’Est and go into the Transilien P until the last stop. The cost is 22€ round-trip or use your Navigo as we did. The journey takes around 1h30, so don’t forget your Kindle!
Once you get to Provins you’ll see the “Tourist office” where you can grab a map.
Attractions you can’t miss:
1) Ramparts and fortified gates
This medieval fortification surrounds half of the town and is still standing after almost 850 years. I can easily imagine I’m back in the middle Ages dressing a silhouette with huge puffed sleeves, a ridiculously-lovely hat, the matching shawl and gloves, and a big sapphire covering my neck.
These splendid 5kms length fortified walls were built in the 13th century. In that time the gate’s purpose was to ensure the protection of their citizens and the many merchants that went to the town. One thing that impressed me a lot is that today you can appreciate 1,200 meters of ramparts that still encircle the Upper Town and the best thing is that you can walk through them.
2) Caesar Tower
The first attraction we went was this one. The tower was constructed in the 12th century by the counts of Champagne region and during that time, it was used as a lookout point and a prison. It features really nice views of the city; however climbing to the top level involves slippery stairs and darkness.
Inside, the visitors are invited to explore some of the rooms, such as the ornate Governor’s office, narrow and creepy passageways, and the top room with giant bells that were on the Saint-Quiciace Collegiate church
For me, the visit was not worth-it at all. No information panels, audio, or guides to enhance the visit. I would not recommend climbing the tower.
3) Underground galleries
The reason for the existence of these underground passages is unclear, as is their construction date. Really, you can’t imagine that under the street level there are kilometers and kilometers of subterranean galleries. I can tell that the structure itself is fascinating and it helps you understand more about the history and culture of the town.
The vast network of these underground passages is divided into 3 categories:
– Civil passages
– Military passages: used as warehouses
– Private passages: to store wine and food.
The only way to see this attraction is with a tour guide and is only available in French or English. I highly recommend buying the tickets at the beginning of the day, so you can be able to choose the language you want. The tickets can be purchase at the Tourist Office or here
4) Medieval festivals
Have you ever wanted to travel in time and discover how life was in Middle Age? If so, you should consider visiting some of the medieval festivals in Provins.
This was my favorite part during the trip, perfect for kids and families. Medieval festivals host tournaments and battle between knights, music, historical recreations and other activities specially created to appeal to the Middle Age fans.
The town offers 4 unique shows:
– The eagles of the Ramparts
– The legend of the knights
– The age of the Ramparts
– Banquet of troubadours
We went to “The Legend of the Knights” and I can tell you that the show makes you feel like you were centuries ago, when Provins was knights’ and princesses’ land. The kids will definitely love this epic adventure full of acrobats, stunts, fights and Iberian horses that make you dream, laugh and shiver.
If you love teas, sugars, cocoas and spices you’ll definitely need to visit this amazing store called “À la croisée des chemins” where you can find original products made by abbeys, rose cosmetics/products, homemade infusion and teas, wide range of spices and wooden toys.
You can also buy the products here
Address: 8 rue Couverte, 77160, Provins
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